When I first moved out of my parent’s and started paying bills, I was shocked when I calculated the monthly running costs. No matter how many times your parents tell you how much things cost, you can only appreciate that advice when it is your own money!
To help, I thought I would put together an article on how you can start reducing these costs, starting with the electricity bill. This is because out of all the bills, this is the one you can save money on the easiest. Not only that, but you will also be helping the environment.
Here are 13 ways to reduce your electricity bills from today:
- Switch off your appliances
- Reduce hot water usage
- Get a water-efficient showerhead
- Upgrade your boiler
- Monitor electricity usage
- Change the layout of your home
- Get a Smart Thermostat
- Use LED lights
- Wear warm clothes in winter
- Insulate properly
- Check electricity bill regularly
- Rewire your home
- Install solar panels
1. Switch Off Your Appliances When You’re Not Using Them
Something as simple as switching off your appliances when they are not in use will make a huge difference in your electricity bills. Microwaves, TVs, gaming consoles, air conditioners, coffee makers, etc., all consume energy even when they are on standby, so make sure to switch them off.
There are plug sockets you can control from your phone to help with that or you can use the switch-off timer on appliances.
2. Reduce Hot Water Usage
A study carried out by uSwitch found that hot water accounts for up to 10% or more of a household’s annual energy costs. Therefore, reducing your hot water usage can also help reduce your electric bills!
You can use a shower timer to control water usage. When you are washing the dishes, close the tap whenever you are not rinsing. Use a bowl instead of a running tap in the morning, and so much more.
3. Get a Water-Efficient Showerhead
Leading on from the previous point, you can also save water by using a water-efficient showerhead. According to Save Water Save Money, they can save up to 3 litres a minute compared to regular showerheads.
One way they work is by restricting the amount of water that flows through them whilst increasing the pressure, meaning your showering experience is not affected. We use one that works by mixing the water with oxygen (aerating) and it still functions great after three years!
4. Upgrade Your Boiler
If your boiler is getting old / is already old, changing it will help you reduce your electric bills. This is simply because modern boilers will be much more efficient, where they can save up to 30% on your energy bills every year!
They may be expensive to buy and install to begin with, but the savings in the long term will outweigh this short-term cost.
5. Pay Attention to Your Electricity Usage
It’s not unusual for people to start making changes once they realize something is wrong. However, the sooner you start, the better. Pay attention to your electricity usage and it will help you change your habits. Use a smart meter to monitor your consumption and take steps to reduce it.
6. Home Layout
If you are or want to re-design your home, try to incorporate an energy-efficient layout wherever possible. For example, maximize the use of natural light so you can reduce the use of artificial lighting throughout the day.
Also, keeping a home warm is always the go-to, but the cooling down is often overlooked. By adding shades over windows that get a lot of sun in the warmer months can save a lot of electricity due to less AC usage.
7. Get a Smart Thermostat
Your thermostat makes your electricity bill a lot heavier than it needs to be. If possible, switch to a smart thermostat, which will allow you to set different temperatures for different rooms so you can use it more efficiently.
They can also be handled via a mobile app, which will allow you to turn the heating off quickly from your phone or tablet whenever you forget.
Bonus Tip: Be sure to place your thermostat in a neutral location / somewhere central where it will not be affected by external elements. This means keeping it away from high sunlit areas, away from external doors, or windows. Our thermostat was located by the front door when we moved in and the heating would always come on – Since moving it, we have seen a drop in our energy bills!
8. Use LED Lights
According to a study carried out by Comparethemarket, you can save approximately £232 a year by switching from standard Halogen to LED lightbulbs. This is because LEDs consume a lot less energy and last over 10 times longer than standard bulbs.
They are available in different shapes and sizes, so you will not have a problem finding bulbs that suit your home’s aesthetic.
We’ve been using these LED lightbulbs for the past year or so and they are still going strong. Luckily, we bought them just before the lockdown where we have been working from home the whole time. Working from home -> more time with the lights on!
9. Wear Warm Clothes During Cold Months
During the colder months of the year, the energy bills can go through the roof because we use heating a lot more. This is inflated more so if you use electric heaters! To avoid this, turn down the thermostat temperature by a few degrees and wear some extra layers.
Now I know why my father would always get us thick jumpers each year for Christmas… He knew what he was doing!
10. Insulate Your Home
Insulating your home can help keep it both warm during winter and cool during summer, therefore this point is a no-brainer.
We do not just mean adding insulation to your roof and leaving it at that either. We also mean insulating the walls, the loft floor, and the windows. You can easily insulate the windows and loft floor yourself, however, it may be better to hire a professional to do the walls.
You can pick up draught excluders for the doors and windows online for under a tenner. We used three of those rolls and managed to do all the windows and external doors in our house.
11. Monitor Your Electric Bill
Sometimes (usually all the time in our case) energy providers make mistakes. Therefore, it’s important to monitor your electric bills closely. As soon as you notice a mistake, contact them and provide a regular meter reading so they can see the discrepancy.
We went 6 months without checking and as soon as we updated our readings, we discovered we were over £180 in credit! Hence, it is certainly worth checking.
12. Rewire Your Home
If the electrical wiring in your home is old or lacks proper earthing, you might want to consider rewiring your home. Old electrical wiring can be very inefficient, and it may be causing energy to leak, which leads to higher electricity bills. Get a qualified electrician to investigate and invest in rewiring if you can afford it.
13. Install Solar Panels
If possible, install solar panels at home so you can start generating some of your own energy. This will reduce electricity bills greatly, but it is a large investment. However, like many large home improvements, it will add value to your property. Therefore, you can save money whilst making money when it comes to selling!
There are many things that you can do to reduce your energy bills, as shown above. Many of which require you to spend money to save money, but you can still make savings without spending. Turn off the lights when you are not using them, do full loads instead of half loads when you are using the washing machine, avoid using the vacuum where a broom will suffice, etc.
Make a habit of the little things and it will add up in the end.
James Banerjee is a Senior Account Manager who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. He works in SEO on clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle and he has a keen interest in personal finances and money-saving advice.